Success for Saving Private RhinoDecember 21st, 2011 by Andrew Moth | Categories: environmental, government, industry, legal, tourism
Quick thinking by Searl Derman, owner of the Aquila Private Game Reserve in the Western Cape and founder of the Saving Private Rhino initiative, has enabled the forces of law and order to strike a blow against ivory poachers.
Acting on a tip from a friend about the smell of “burning hair” and the sound of grinding from a garage in an apartment block in Tableview near Cape Town, Derman suspected wrong-doing and headed to the scene.
He contacted the Hawks, a specialist unit in South Africa’s crime fighting forces, and the SA Police Service on the way to the scene in the heart of Cape Town’s west coast suburbs. On arrival they found a white powder at the entrance to a garage.
A number of elephant tusks, shark fins and various animal horns that were being cut up and worked on were discovered. Two men were arrested and the contents of their apartment and garages were seized.
It is understood that the value of the confiscated products which had been taken from animals butchered by poachers may run into millions of rands.
Derman (pictured above at the scene of the crime this week) said: “I am very proud to have been involved in this arrest however, although a good day for conservation, it is still a very sad day when you see 19 full elephant tusks being carried out of a garage.”
Earlier this month, a Chinese national, Hsu Hsien Lung, was jailed for six years by the Germiston Regional Court for possession of two rhino horns weighing 9.8kg. He was arrested with the horns in Bedfordview, Johannesburg, on May 21.
About 400 rhinos have been slaughtered by poachers in South Africa this year.